After that initial signage spotted at the Westfield Century City Mall last month, a few more details on Obika, the forthcoming Italian mozzarella bar. Obika is an Italian chain with 13 locations spread throughout five countries, the first of which opened in 2004 (Rome) by Silvio Ursini. His idea, per the PR report, was to fuse "the Neapolitan celebration of Mozzarella di Bufala with the reverence for ingredients and stylistic qualities that define Japanese cuisine," so here in LA that translates to mozzarella imported from Italy’s Paestum and Agro Pontino regions, meticulous attention to detail, and of course our local California bounty. The first California locale is set to open in September with lunch service, “aperitivo hour,” and dinner. A second location is expected to debut in November at the Beverly Center.
To get an idea of how the space will appear, check out the restaurant's LA website for a slideshow of previous locations. Think a simple, modern, clean design, light wood accents and tables, steel bistro chairs. A raised communal table to seat 22 guests is planned, in addition to indoor tables to accommodate 25, and a patio to hold another 28.
On to the menu. Obviously, the focus here is on mozzarella. Mozzarella served on its own, alongside cured meats, and in actual dishes: Cherry Tomatoes or Grilled Seasonal Vegetables and Light Basil Pesto; Eggplant Caponata alla Siciliana; Sciacca Anchovies, Sundried Tomatoes, and Capers; Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon; Rotoli made of Mozzarella di Bufala, Bresaola, and Arugula; cold Basil and Organic Tomato Soup with Stracciatella di Burrata and Crostini; Fried Breaded Mozzarella; Tuna in Olive Oil, Baby Lettuces, Caperberries, Oven Baked Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes; Pane Cunzato topped with Spicy Sausage Patè from Calabria, Stracciatella di Burrata, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Capers from Pantelleria, and Salted Ricotta Cheese; Schiaffoni Gragnano Pasta with Mozzarella di Bufala and Organic Tomato Sauce; Trofie Pasta with light Basil Pesto; Rice Tortino with Capers from Pantelleria, Sundried Tomatoes, Tuna in Olive Oil, and Mozzarella di Bufala (served cold); Ricotta Mousse with Honey, Orange Peel, and Pine Nuts; a flourless Chocolate and Almond Torta Caprese with Organic Gelato; and Tiramisù.
The wine list boasts rare finds from small producers throughout the country including Scalabrone rose’ from Tuscany, Greco di tufo from Campania, and Nero di Avola from Sicily. Italian beers will be offered by the bottle, as well as a selection of Obikà’s signature cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks.